A rejected development application and ongoing legal action continue to add fuel to the dumpster fire that is the Batavia Motor Inne demolition. A statement released this week by the owners of the site, 54 Fitzgerald Pty Ltd, revealed plans to save the last remaining building from the wrecking ball and turn it into an 18-apartment workers’ accommodation complex to potentially be open by August. But those plans were soured by news the City of Greater Geraldton rejected the “incomplete” development application after the owners allegedly failed to comply with a demolition order. The order required the owners to demolish all buildings. The derelict site has long been a community sore point, attracting criminal activity and squatters, and hopes for a new lease on life were raised after most of the site was demolished late last year. But it seems the controversy and confusion remains after the council rejected a development application lodged late month. “The owners of the Batavia Motor Inne attempted to submit a development application for the site late last year, however it was incomplete and not accepted. Therefore, there is no current development application currently being assessed for the site,” city CEO Ross McKim said. City director of development services Ryan Hall said the application was severely lacking in detail about the purpose of the building. “Unfortunately it (document released by owners) was full of inaccuracies. The primary reason it wasn’t accepted was that it wasn’t clear,” he said. Mr Hall confirmed the city was currently prosecuting 54 Fitzgerald Pty Ltd — whose directors include Joe Scaffidi, the property developer husband of former Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi — for its alleged failure to comply with a demolition order which declared the site’s buildings unfit for human habitation. The demolition order was issued in November 2022 and required the owners to take down or remove the buildings within 90 days of receiving the notice. Demolition did not start until September-October last year. The statement this week from the site owners also claimed “site work will re-commence shortly to remove the remaining rubble created during the demolition process”. But the city claims the owners do not have the relevant permit to remove demolition debris. A demolition permit for the site was issued in September 2023 and did not include the removal of rubble, which can be done once a separate application is submitted. “The demolition order issued under the Health Act requires all buildings to be demolished,” Mr McKim said. One building was left standing after the owners deemed it “structurally sound”. “The building known as Wing Six was recognised as being structurally sound and therefore worth revisioning ... it was recognised that retaining a significant piece of this late 20th century built form was not only prudent but historically meaningful to the local community,” the owners said. Despite the rejected application and prosecution efforts, 54 Fitzgerald Pty Ltd are adamant the 18-apartment structure “should be operational by August 2024”. Their release said the building would be used for workers’ accommodation to “assist key employers to provide secure modern accommodation for their staff”. Mr Hall said the purpose for the building was outlined as residential but no specifics had been supplied which were needed to process and approve the application. The owners also claim the council has given them up to 12 months to remove all rubble. However, Mr Hall said the next step in the process was unclear until the final building was demolished.